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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy


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The New York Times and the Miami Herald both are reporting on a case that well illustrates why we need legislation to provide relief to young people brought to this country as children who find themselves out of status and in the limbo of being American-raised and facing exile in a country they don't know at all. The papers are reporting on Juan Gomez, an eighteen year old who just graduated from Killian High School in Miami.

Gomez moved to Miami with his family from his native Colombia when he was just two years old and has been here ever since. He's the model student having graduated with a near perfect grade point average and having passed 11 Advanced Placement exams.

Until Wednesday, he sat in immigration detention, his entire family just picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The entire family faces deportation and Juan could be looking at spending the rest of his life barred from coming back to the US. He is not even able to speak Spanish.

Juan found a unique way to get the word of his plight out. With the aid of friends, he created a Facebook page to tell the world of his fate and now has 2000 individuals linked on his page. A number of his friends got on airplanes this week and flew to Washington to plead his case.

Fortunately, some fair-minded politicians have taken up Juan's cause. According to the Times:

On Monday, Representative Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Republican of Florida,
offered a private bill to the House Judiciary Committee asking for
legal resident status for Mr. Gomez and his brother. Representative
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Republican of Florida, delivered an appeal for the
brothers to the White House, and Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of
Florida, called immigration authorities.

On Wednesday, officials stayed the family's deportation and released
them for 45 days to give Congress time to consider their bill, Ms.
Gonzalez, the immigration agency spokeswoman, said.

On Friday,
Representative Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California and chairwoman of
the House Judiciary immigration subcommittee, will hold a meeting to
consider private bills for three other illegal immigrant students
facing deportation.

Ms. Lofgren  said she hoped to take up Mr. Gomez's bill after the August recess.

One hopes for the best for the Gomez family. Private bills have been rare in years past largely because of the hostility of the Republican Chairs of the House Immigration Subcommittee. Zoe Lofgren, of course, has ushered in a new age in her committee.

But the case most definitely illustrates why it's time to pass the DREAM Act. There are kids like Juan Gomez all over the country. Kids who can contribute greatly to the country and who face tragic futures because our our inhumane immigration laws. It's time for some decency, time to pass the DREAM Act.

[UPDATE: TIME Magazine is now covering the Gomez case].

[UPDATE: Found out from Sam at ILW that Juan has a web site].

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  1. Dreamie's Avatar
    Thank you Mr.Siskind,for your positive contributions on why we should pass the Dream act bill.

    There are a LOT more students that utterly depend on this wondrous legislation as each year a new generation graduate when they find out what it means to be undocumented.

    Despite that,there are still many students that are taking the Dream act fight to the capital in their own way by being active in the country they call home in calling their Senators. You to can join in that fight by joining the following websites & becoming active in the fight for Dream act.
  2. sam's Avatar
    Yeah, man, pass the bong! It's time for some dreamin'
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